Lenovo’s Vibe is a disruptive, sub-$100 smartwatch
Lenovo is set to cause disruption in the wearable technology market by offering a basic smartwatch for under $90 – a price point cheaper than most smart wristbands.
With the lines between smart wristbands and smartwatches already blurring, Chinese manufacturer Lenovo is coming in at a much lower price than current smartwatches. It is also even undercutting current smart wristband market leaders like Fitbit, by offering its VIBE Band VB10 for just US $89.99.
Lenovo is therefore entering the market at a price point that is not only below that of Fitbit’s comparable Surge, but also more keenly priced even than Fitbit’s entry-level wrist-worn tracker, the venerable Flex.
Lenovo is using an e-ink display to promise a battery life of up to a week, plus instant notifications for a range of messages – from calls and SMS but also Facebook, Twitter and Chinese chat leader WeChat, with space for up to 200 characters.
This is basically the same functionality as the outgoing generation of smartwatches, like the Pebble.
The band tracks activity and is waterproof under IPX standards to a depth of one meter, for 30 minutes – meaning it can be worn for light swimming.
More functionality at a lower price point
In appearance, the VIBE looks similar to the headset/wristband combi TalkBand B1 model from fellow Chinese firm Huawei – but offers more for a lower price. It’s also undercutting the Samsung Galaxy Gear Fit on price, although this does have a color “Curved Super AMOLED” display.
Lenovo also uses the VIBE brand for its Android-based range of smartphones, but is not restricting sync capabilities only to Android phones – it also supports iPhone.
Full details are available in Lenovo’s specification sheet which can be downloaded by clicking here.
In summary, it could be worth waiting for price cuts in the spring if you’re thinking about buying a low-end smartwatch or high-end smart wristband (Fitbit tried to call the premium segment of the wristband market the “fitness superwatch”, but nobody else has taken the bait). It’s not going to compete with the much-anticipated Apple Watch, but you could buy four for the price of the Apple device.
Our verdict: Lenovo has a track record of success in the notebook market, and looks poised to cause disruption in the smart wristband/smartwatch market. This is converging, as we’ve previously noted. Even if it doesn’t sell in huge numbers, the arrival of Lenovo’s VIBE band – in April 2015 – is going to trigger price cuts among competitors.